“But the LORD said, 'You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?'”
—Jonah 4:10 – 11
Storms will come
Lately, I’ve been reminded of this verse in regards to friendly relationships I was drawn to this story not merely because of the great fish swallowing Jonah, but because of Jonah’s resistance and God’s great compassion from beginning till the very end on the people of Nineveh.
In life, God brings us storms we often think too raging to handle, but He also brings us these “giant fish” to save us in some form or another. I’ve had the mentality for a while, that God brings me what I need in His own way — however that this way would somehow always fit well with my life or with what I’d expect — or even want. I always thought that God would bring me what I’d need in the form of comfort, not distress or mess.
God knows best
Recently, I’ve been reminded that God isn’t always going to bring us what we need in a beautiful, comforting way; it could often be messy and uncomfortable. Which is more often than usual. And moreover, it could possibly be the other way around. Sometimes, it’s not what we need, it’s what they need. It’s what Nineveh needs. If God can have compassion on Nineveh and care so deeply for them while they’re drowning in their own destruction, than we can have compassion on those God’s brings into our lives that don’t necessarily fit our normal mold. It’s a part of taking selfishness away and embracing the hardships to be able to see what stands behind them.
God truly works in mysterious ways; I don’t expect for God to give me what I need in the way that I want it. I expect Him to be God, the God who works mysteriously, unexpectedly, and differently than my own ways. Even if I can’t stand that way at first, I realize that even through the storms of this lifetime, the times I rejected God and the moments I just can’t take anymore of — I know in the end, that God’s purpose has now been placed in the perfect season, breathing and living as it should be. Even if that purpose may have very little to do with me and everything to do with what that Nineveh in my life needs.
“From the depths of the grave I called for help and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.” —Jonah 2:2 – 3